Introducing and Installing TFS 2013 Preview 5

TFS 2013 Preview

Recently, Microsoft released a preview version of their next version of their team development suite, known as Team Foundation Server (TFS).

Long time readers of Sanders Technology will know that I’ve a long history with TFS, and I’m genuinely a fan of the platform.

Team Foundation Server 2013 breaks from the naming convention used in some of the more immediate releases – 2008, 2010 and 2012 all being two years apart – the only exception being the first release, 2005.

So What’s New in 2013?

The big ticket items are certainly around source and build control.

The 2013 edition continues to build upon the support for another source repository system which will be known to many developers – Git.  Initial integration featured in TFS 2012, and continues to be even stronger in TFS 2013.

Here’s a quick summary of some changes in Team Foundation Server 2013 Preview:

  • Version control
    • Git built in to Visual Studio and TFS
    • Use branches to switch contexts and isolate risk
    • Resolve conflicts
    • Work around a few known issues
  • Team Foundation Build
    • Build Windows 8.1 Preview Store apps
    • Build more simply. Build in Git!
    • Scripts!

    To learn more about what’s new in Team Foundation Server 2013 Preview, I’d encourage you to read the Visual Studio ALM Team Blog here.  To see how it dovetails with new features coming in Visual Studio 2013, check out Brian Harry’s excellent blog here.

    We’re going to take a look at this – and probably more – but first we have to install it!

    The Installation

    Installation GuideGiven this is a preview edition, I’m going to assume that most folks aren’t going to jump on this release and put it into production, but if you are so inclined (as a fresh install or as an upgrade), you can do so – particularly as upgrading is supported – but as per normal, caution is advised.

    The first – absolute first – thing you should do is go and download the installation and administration guides.

    The install media (.iso) contains a link to this location on where you can obtain the latest installation guides.  I strongly recommend doing this, even if you’ve installed and configured TFS as many times as I have (or more).

    Download Options

    For review purposes, I’m installing TFS 2013 Preview on a clean Windows Server 2012 VM, and I’ll be installing just a ‘Standard Single Server’.

    Beginning the Install

    Before getting underway, I strongly urge a review of the installation pre-requisites to ensure that you have met the requirements for the type of installation you prefer.  In this release, the installation supports – ‘Basic’, ‘Standard Single Server’, ‘Advanced’ and ‘Upgrade’ of the Team Foundation Application Server.  Note that there is also the option to install the Application Tier and Data Tiers separately.

    There is also support for installing the usual suspects – TFS Server Proxy, TFS Build Service and Extensions for SharePoint Products (you’ll recall that with TFS 2012, SharePoint became an optional dependency).

    Standard Single Server


    The diagram to the left comes from the Installation Guide and illustrates what we’ll be introducing with our TFS 2013 configuration.

    Notice that the standard installation uses both a local SQL Server instance (configured for Reporting Services and Analysis Services) as well as a local SharePoint Web Application.

    This significantly decreases the number of inbound/outbound ports which are required as the TFS Application and Data tiers are self-contained within the same host.


    Upgrade is supported from TFS 2010 (with or without SP1) and any Go-Live version of TFS 2012 to the TFS 2013 Preview.  Upgrading from TFS 2008 is no longer supported, you would have to upgrade from TFS 2008 to an earlier version first.  For more on upgrade scenarios and considerations, check out the MSDN Blog for more details.

    Determine Prerequisites

    As stated above, I’m going to be going with the ‘Standard Single Server’ configuration.  A quick scan of the Installation guide reveals the steps I need to undertake:


    To install a single server configuration you need to install SQL Server before proceeding to install Team Foundation Server 2013.  Supported versions of SQL Server are:

    – The next version of SQL Server (Express,¹ Standard,¹ and Enterprise editions)
    – SQL Server 2012 with SP1² (Express,¹ Standard,¹ or Enterprise Editions)

    Note that this would appear to exclude previous versions of SQL Server, particularly 2008 R2.  I’ve chosen to install SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition for this review.


    Kicking off the Installation Media

    Once you’ve dealt with the prerequisites, you can begin installing TFS 2013.

    We’re greeted with the now, familiar cut down installer.  It’s essentially a tick of a box and the clicking of an oversized button, and we’re off.

    1 3 

    Once the initial components are in place (mine required a system reboot), we are met with the familiar Configuration Center.  I select ‘Standard Single Server’ and click the “Start Wizard” button.

    7 image

    For the Standard configuration, you just need to provide a local user account which TFS will use as the service account for SharePoint and SSRS (read only, for accessing TFS reports).  For everything else, TFS will use the standard Network Service account.

    Installing Optional Pre-requisites: SharePoint Foundation 2013


    Now, the installer does some interesting checks.  In this particular case, the VM I’m running only has 2GB of RAM (scalable to 4GB).

    The installer detects the server as not having enough minimum memory, and therefore gives me an opportunity to skip the SharePoint installation and configuration.

    I’m actually wanting to have a look at the SharePoint integration, so I restart and shift the RAM up to the minimum (4 GB).  Problem solved.

    imageSo after changing settings and rebooting, I continued to install.

    This time around, I have the option to install SharePoint Foundation 2013, but I’m warned that it will suffer from performance degradation as I’m running at less than the recommended RAM – 10 GB (memory hog!).

    Therefore, I click to install SharePoint, and the installer UI expands to show installation tasks.  This is a nice end-user experience, and I watch on as the installation takes place.image

    This pops up a couple of other installation dialogs as we progress.  A couple of system restarts are required,


    Eventually, we get towards the finish of the SharePoint component.  Depending on your system’s performance, this could take a little while.


    The Main Event

    Once the readiness checks have finished (I was tripped up by Reporting Services not having been properly configured), you can click on “Configure” to start the final work.


    The final configuration is error-free, and on the final page we’re given a link to click on so we can access our newly minted TFS 2013 (Preview) instance:


    Coming Up Next…

    Now that we have a fully functioning TFS 2013 build, it’ll be time to dig into it some more.  Stay tuned for the next article where we will explore Team Foundation Server 2013 (Preview) using Visual Studio 2013 (Preview) and Team Explorer!

  • TFS Branching and Merging Guide v2 1

    Earlier this month some very useful guidance documentation was published on Codeplex
    The topic?  Build and versioning guidance, from Microsoft’s ALM Rangers group.

    The guides are broken down into a number of PDF files.  In the main documentation archive (which you can download from Codeplex) are a number of files:

    • Branching and Merging Guide – Cheatsheet Advanced Plan.pdf
    • Branching and Merging Guide – Cheatsheet Basic Branch Plan.pdf
    • Branching and Merging Guide – Cheatsheet Picking a Strategy.pdf
    • Branching and Merging Guide – Cheatsheet Standard Branch Plan.pdf
    • Branching and Merging Guide – Cheatsheet Terminology.pdf
    • Branching and Merging Guide – Illustrations.pdf
    • Branching and Merging Guide – Illustrations.pptx
    • Branching and Merging Guide.pdf

    Which, all said, cover a fair amount of material. 
    Also packaged are some Hands on Labs which provide a useful set of demonstration examples, and can be used with the Beta version of TFS.

    According to the main PDF (Branching and Merging Guide.pdf) the following bullet points describe the new content covered in the beta documentation:

    • The guidance will have some new verbiage and recommendations around some of our existing branching
      plans, as well as add some coverage for new branching plans.
    • This guidance introduces you to local workspace which is a new concept in Team Foundation Server 11.
      Local workspace enables you to continue working even when network access is intermittent or
      unavailable thereby providing increased bandwidth availability and client optimizations. 
    • We provide new guidance around effectively managing shared resources in source control by discussing
      various common scenarios and describing the pros and cons with each approach.  This guide lays a solid
      foundation for implementing sharing for your development efforts in your Team Foundation Server
    • Branching and merging with database projects is discussed in detail. 
    • There is in-depth coverage of merge improvements in Team Foundation Server 11. There has been
      enhancements made to the product that brings a whole set of improvements in the area of merging,
      primarily fewer conflicts that require user interaction when merging, new merge tool for conflict
      resolution in merging, new file comparison tool, baseless merging from the UI, and merging available on
    • Different scenarios for baseless merging are discussed in this release of the guidance. Baseless merges are
      not ideal but may be required on occasion.  The Pros and Cons of baseless merging are pointed out with
      coverage on the enhancements made in Visual Studio 11 around baseless merging. You can now perform

    There are separate diagrams within the “Branching and Merging Guide – Illustrations.pptx” PowerPoint side deck, enabling ease of access for reuse. 

    You might recall, I published my own (similar) version of this diagram here on Sanders Technology not that long ago:



    This diagram is an excellent representation of how to branch and merge for multiple feature sets, keeping the main trunk in synch, as well as the features in release order. 

    The diagrams get quite a bit more sophisticated, here is another which illustrates my own rules for dev/branch and patch management:


    What I quite like about these diagrams is that it underscores how important merging and branching are to a mature development lifecycle.

    This model allows parallel development as well as maintenance on the released product.

    I won’t go into too much detail – there’s a lot to read – suffice to say that if you have a vested interest in learning or understanding application lifecycle management (be it on Team Foundation Server or an alternative), this isn’t a bad place to start.

    The guidance could easily be applied to other source control and lifecycle management tools.

    Handy Links:

    Download the Team Foundation Server 11 Branching and Merging Guidance
    Download the Visual Studio 11 Beta
    Download the Team Foundation Server 11 Beta
    Download the Team Foundation Server 11 Beta Power Tools